(IBM) - Get Report

Chief Executive Lou Gerstner is moving along well on the project of diversifying his retirement portfolio.

Gerstner, who is widely expected to step down as head of Big Blue sometime in the next year, sold 750,000 common shares of IBM last week, the company said Tuesday. Gerstner sold the stock though the exercising of options.

An IBM spokesman said the stock sales were "part of an ongoing program of tax planning and asset diversification on the part of Mr. Gerstner," who exercised and sold 700,000 options last November. Gerstner still holds 6.3 million options and owns 900,000 shares outright, the spokesman said.

Gerstner picked an opportune time to sell. IBM's stock has gained about 30% since late March as the company has come back into favor on Wall Street for its ability to remain relatively shielded from the slowdown in IT spending. After taxes and options costs, Gerstner cleared $46.8 million from the sale.